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Otto Ballhorn Chemistry Laboratory Notebook, 1911-1912

By Rachel Lilley

Collection Overview

Title: Otto Ballhorn Chemistry Laboratory Notebook, 1911-1912

ID: MSS Ballhorn

Primary Creator: Ballhorn, Otto (1888-1917)

Extent: 0.05 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Otto Ballhorn Chemistry Laboratory Notebook consists of Ballhorn's laboratory notebook for introductory chemistry. It includes reports of laboratory experiments performed during his freshman year at Oregon Agricultural College, with Chemistry instructor Renton K. Brodie. Otto Ballhorn attended Oregon Agricultural College from 1911 to 1915, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce in 1915.

Scope and Content Notes

The Otto Ballhorn Chemistry Laboratory Notebook includes reports of laboratory experiments performed during his freshman year at Oregon Agricultural College, with Chemistry instructor Renton Kirkwood Brodie.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Otto Ballhorn was born August 23, 1888 in Woodland, Washington to Henry Ballhorn and Louise C. Henchen Ballhorn. Ballhorn matriculated at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) in 1911. As a freshman, Ballhorn was a member of the Zetagathian Literary Society, a group organized in 1896 to “further literary work.” In his sophomore year, Ballhorn was a member of, and served as Barometer reporter for, both the Zetagathian Literary Society and the Commercial Club, the latter of which met every week to hear guest speakers as part of a regularly scheduled lecture course, “The Business Man’s Lecture Course,” and published the semi-annual publication the Commercial Print. He also rushed Gamma Upsilon (now the Delta Tau chapter of Sigma Nu), and served as an Associate Editor of the Barometer (in addition to acting as one of its reporters).

As a junior, Ballhorn was elected Second Vice President (President of the Junior Class), and served as second semester President of the Commercial Club. He had his hand in nearly every campus publication, serving as Manager of the Orange, News Editor for the Barometer, and first semester Barometer reporter for the Commercial Club. He also acted as Chair and Publicity Manager of the Junior Play Committee, and was an active member of the Shakopean Society, Class Debate, and the Sphinx Honor Society.

As a member of the Mask and Dagger Dramatic Club, Ballhorn served as the Advertising Manager and member of the Casting Committee for the Class of 1915’s dramatic performance during the 1914/1915 academic year. The Wife, a four-act drama by playwrights Henry Churchill de Mille and David Belasco, was performed at the Majestic Theater, May 1, 1914.

Having served as Associate Editor, News Editor, and a reporter, Ballhorn was elected Editor-in-Chief of the Barometer his senior year in a hotly contested race. The contest for Editor-in-Chief was so intense, in fact, that a piece in The Oregonian published May 31, 1914 called it “the fiercest political campaign in the history of the Oregon Agricultural College.” Ballhorn ultimately bested his opponent, O.B. Hayes, by a margin of 274 votes, and a “parade about the campus was held by Ballhorn's supporters to celebrate the victory.” During his tenure as Editor-in-Chief, Ballhorn was responsible for two significant improvements to the paper: enlarging each issue to six columns, and printing on newsprint paper rather than glazed paper.

As a senior, Ballhorn also served as President of the Co-op Association, and President of Alpha Kappa Psi, a national honorary commercial fraternity, whose mission was to “foster scientific research in the fields of commerce, accounts, and finance…and to promote and advance in American institutions of learning courses leading to degrees in commercial sciences.” He was also a member of the local honor society, The Forum; was appointed Advisor on Publications to the Presidential Advisory Board; and served on the OAC Student Council his sophomore, junior, and senior years.

Ballhorn completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce in 1915. According to his World War I Draft Registration Card, shortly after graduation Ballhorn relocated to La Grande, Oregon, where he worked as a reporter for the La Grande Observer. He had been in La Grande only a year and a half, however, when tragedy struck. Though Delta Tau “reporter” L. K. Fraley attributes his untimely death to a “nervous breakdown from overwork in his last year at college" that left him unable to "resist an attack of ptomaine poisoning," Ballhorn's death certificate lists pulmonary tuberculosis as the cause of death. Ballhorn died October 8, 1917 in Woodland, Washington, and is buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery there. He never married.

Author: Rachel Lilley

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 box

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: Materials were donated to the University Archives by Pat Gregory in 1998.

Related Materials:

The OSU Special Collections and Archives Researcher Center holdings contain a number of collections documenting the experience of students in Chemistry courses at Oregon Agricultural College in the early 1900s, including the Alfie Nelson Laboratory Notebook (MSS NelsonA), the Frank G. Sutherland Notebook (MSS Sutherland), the Ronald V. and John G. Hogg Papers (MSS Hogg), and the Carey L. Strome Papers (MSS Strome).

Additional collections relating to the Chemistry Department, and the teaching of Chemistry at Oregon State University, include the Chemistry Department Records (RG 098), the Chemistry Department Motion Picture Films (FV 205), the Oregon State University Historical Photographs (P 025), and the Oregon State University Memorabilia Collection (MSS MC).

Preferred Citation: Otto Ballhorn Chemistry Laboratory Notebook (MSS Ballhorn), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Finding Aid Revision History: This finding aid replaces information about the collection that was placed online in 2012.


Ballhorn, Otto (1888-1917)

People, Places, and Topics

Chemistry--Study and teaching (Higher)--Oregon--Corvallis.
History of Science
Oregon Agricultural College. Department of Chemistry
University History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.